Businesses adjust for weeknight game parking

Richard Ryman
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Cars line the front yards of houses near Lambeau Field during the preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, Aug. 18, 2016.

GREEN BAY - Businesses around Lambeau Field have learned to work around football, especially when the Packers host the rare weeknight game, as they do Thursday when the Chicago Bears come to town.

Bars and restaurants look forward to a flood of Packers fans any day of the week, but east and southeast of Lambeau is a commercial area where businesses are not so directly connected to the Packers except for this: they park cars. Hundreds of cars.

Lambeau Field has a capacity of 81,435, which means more than 20,000 vehicles need parking on game day. Lambeau has capacity for about 3,000 cars, in addition to staff, media, ADA and premium parking, leaving the majority for neighborhoods to absorb, which they ably do. For area businesses, that sometimes means altering the normal routine to accommodate early-arriving fans.

Parking in the area ranges from $10 to $25 primarily.

Capital Credit Union on Morris Avenue parks 500 cars for every game. Its lots fill up and fast, due in part to the fact it charges $10 and is only two blocks from the Lambeau Field parking lot. Like a number of the businesses that park cars, it donates the proceeds to charities and nonprofit organizations.

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On weeknight games, it tries to accommodate both customers and fans.

"We keep the drives open. We try to keep the lobby open until 5," said Tom Young. "We just don’t let people park in front and we have employees park in the lot next door," where fans also park.

The office closes at 5 p.m., after which every space is available.

Reinhold Sign Service Inc., which parks more than 100 cars at $15 each on the corner of Borvan Avenue and Holmgren Way, aims for a 3 p.m. close, but Robert Ott said they play it by ear. About 60 percent of their parkers are regulars, so they know the drill.

"There have been games where we closed at 2, 2:30 when people start showing up. There have been some where we didn't close until 4," he said.

Normal closing time for the business is 4:30 p.m.

Other businesses, such as Sarnac Glove Co., which has a large parking area between Lombardi Avenue and Tony Canadeo Run, said its normal routine, with a 5 p.m. closing time, is unaffected.

One thing many of the businesses offer is space for tailgating. The Packers have said tailgating is on the decline in the Lambeau Field lots, but in the commercial lots it remains a favorite pregame activity.

Contact and follow him on Twitter @RichRymanPG, onInstagram at rrymanpgor on Facebook at Richard Ryman-Press-Gazette. Or call him at (920) 431-8342.

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